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Victor Louis Says There May Soon Be Unofficial Exchange of Diplomatic Personnel Between Israel, USSR

December 14, 1971
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A Soviet journalist known to be close to the Kremlin hinted in a report from Moscow published here today that there might soon be an unofficial exchange of diplomatic personnel between Israel and they USSR. But Foreign Ministry officials said they had no information to corroborate such reports. They were commenting on a dispatch by Victor Louis which stated the exchange would come about because of the heavy administrative burden involved in processing the growing number of Soviet Jews leaving Russia for Israel. The burden falls on the Dutch Embassy in Moscow which handles Israeli affairs in the USSR and the Finnish Embassy in Tel Aviv which handles Soviet affairs in Israel in the absence of formal diplomatic relations.

According to Louis, “A number of Israeli diplomats would be attached to the Dutch Embassy while Russians would go to the Finnish Embassy in Tel Aviv.” The writer added, “It is possible in a very short time that the voice replying to a phone call to the Dutch Embassy in Moscow would say “shalom.'” The Louis story appeared in a London newspaper and was carried here in the evening newspaper Maariv.

Foreign Ministry officials noted that it was the Soviet Union which broke diplomatic relations with Israel in 1967 and said that any initiative at renewing them in any way must come from Moscow. They added that if such a move was made. Israel was prepared to discuss it.


Louis has been described as a sometime agent of the Soviet Union undertaking covert missions on behalf of the regime in many countries while active as a journalist. His visit to Israel last spring, ostensibly for medical reasons, was viewed in some quarters as a move by Moscow toward renewing contacts with Israel. He came here on an official Soviet passport and met with Simcha Dinitz, Premier Golda Meir’s political secretary.

Louis stated in his dispatch that the departure of Russian Jews for Israel has reached a peak of 100 persons per day which puts a heavy strain on the Soviet airline, Aeroflot, and the Ministry of Transport, He said the main component of the emigres are Jews from the Soviet Georgian Republic. Next will come Jews from Bukhara, Russian Central Asia, he reported. He said reports from Russian Jews who went to Israel and now wish to return to the USSR do not influence Jews desirious of leaving.

According to Louis, Soviet authorities have not decided what to do about the returnees. He said those who have already returned were given preference in housing and other fields. They are treated as political immigrants who “could not live elsewhere but in Soviet Russia.” Louis wrote. Louis’ dispatch was confirmed in certain details by local officials. The Absorption Ministry said yesterday that immigrants are expected to arrive from Russia at the rate of a planeload a day for the balance of this month. Each plane carries over 100 passengers. Immigration officials also say that Georgian Jews account for about a third of all immigrants from the USSR.

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